How do you transform a 50-year-old villa into a comfortable, contemporary, sustainable home? To find the answer, the architect Theo Reitsema and the interior designer Stephanie Weitering, who are married to each other, spent a year living in a 1967-built house in the Dutch community of Rijssen, looking, listening and feeling. They and their two young children settled in the villa, set in the middle of the forest. Together they explored the possibilities presented by the house and its location. Reitsema and Weitering made discoveries during that first year that would inform the house’s transformation. For instance, the family occupied the villa through all seasons. Living on a hill in the forest means you’re surrounded by greenery in summer. Since the thick foliage provides shade, the house doesn’t need any sun protection or air conditioning beyond an overhang on the west side. And in winter, the low sun warms the house and its occupants can see for hundreds of metres through the branches.
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